Lockheed Martin announced on 18 September that, working with the US Air Force (USAF), it has used agile software development techniques to evolve the signals intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities for the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS), USAF’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system, which produces actionable intelligence from data collected by sensors on manned and unmanned ISR platforms.

To help our customers upgrade systems, Lockheed Martin is using modern agile methodologies, which unlike other software development approaches, welcome change,” commented the company’s Vice President of C4ISR and Unmanned Aerial Systems, Dr. Rob Smith. “For DCGS, we worked with the Air Force to provide a spiral-based agile development and integration model leading to continuous integration - continuous delivery.”

Using this agile approach, the partners transformed DCGS to a modern architecture capable of rapidly integrating new capabilities as threats evolve. They were able to migrate the majority of DCGS SIGINT applications onto the open architecture infrastructure for testing just 10 months after task order receipt. In the past, large system releases would begin testing event some 18-24 months after award. Lockheed Martin helped gain efficiencies in software development, reduce the software lifecycle time and field new capabilities quarterly, representing a 50-75% reduction in fielding timelines.

The enhanced capabilities will allow airmen to be faster and more effective in executing the DCGS worldwide intelligence mission. This is also a critical step in transforming DCGS from traditional sites to a worldwide hub-based architecture, which paves the way for centralised processing and remote support. This hub-based architecture will lead to significant cost savings in support contracts and allow those savings to be reinvested into development of new applications and capabilities for DCGS.

The Distributed Common Ground System, or DCGS, is the Air Force's globally-networked intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance planning, collection, processing and exploitation, analysis and dissemination weapon system. (Photo: USAF)

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